CONFEDERATIONS. 243 navy, and established a system of posts and a hospital. The next year it was voted almost unanimously that the united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states (voted in June and to be proclaimed July 4), and the states which had as yet no governments adequate to their present exigencies, were advised to establish them. Not long after the capture of Burgoyne's army in 1777, articles of con- federation and perpetual union wefe agreed to in congress (Nov. 15), which, when approved by the several states in their legislatures, were to be ratified by the deputies in congress. Such ratifications were made by eight states on the 9th of July, 1778 ; three more followed within the same year, that from Delaware came in 1779, and that from Maryland not until March, 1781. The reasons for the delay of nearly eight months before the first ratifications, and the much longer de- lay of two states, lay in the claims of a number of states under their charters to jurisdiction over territory reaching to the South Sea (or Western Ocean); it was maintained that con- gress ought to fix the western boundaries of the states pos- sessed of these vast domains, and that unoccupied lands ought to be the property of the whole union, which had, by its com- mon exertions, secured them for settlers from the United States. The legislature of Maryland having in January, 1781, withdrawn their objection, the union was then complete,* Several amendments were made to the articles, all of which were rejected. Those suggested by New Jersey to the effect that the United States ought to have the power of regulating trade, and of using the revenues from duties and customs for public purposes, pointed at a weak spot which it needed some time to make apparent throughout the country. The confederacy established in this instrument is called the United States of America, and the states, each retaining its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, with every power not expressly delegated to the United States, enter into a perpetual league for common defence and general welfare. * See G, T. Curtis, Hist of the Constitution, i., 130 and onw.